There is a NEW style of architecture taking over city landscapes. Increasingly, we are seeing gravity-defying shapes, soaring angles, cutting edges and plenty of infinity-type pools creating modern marvels of construction wonder. We see them in London, in many US cities, in Shanghai and Beijing, in Japan and nearer home, plenty of examples in Singapore, and yes, also in wealthy suburban neighborhoods in Kuala Lumpur.
In the beginning when architects introduced these design wonders to the world, they were the domain only of the big property developments like hotels, museums, conference centers, resorts and the like; but these days, these features are also being incorporated into residential abodes.
Wow some of them soar but they also seem loud as they fiercely dominate their neighborhood. We see raw granite walls, escalating glass walls, rounded chrome pillars, endless infinity pools, LED lights, sharp angles and, gigantic box shapes… are these new architectural features good feng shui? LILLIAN TOO offers some food for thought.
It is impossible not to gasp in admiration at the sheer freshness and appeal of architectural features that make new homes stand out so prominently these days. It seems like floor-to-ceiling glass doors are so very IN, that having an infinity pool that appears to overflow into infinity is such a must have, that rows of poles have taken over from the solid fencing wall, that boxed-up elevations are being preferred to conventional shapes… and everywhere we see mirrors, glass, raw granite, chrome and abstract designs standing out as the main feature of houses. Often they define the houses in which they are incorporated instead of blending into the home’s overall design.
To a Chinese owner, and also to other owners mindful of the feng shui aspects of their abode, there is surely concern over how these new house shapes and design features can affect the luck of their family. These contemporary houses are beautiful indeed and they reflect new attitudes towards clean lines and minimalism, towards the simplicity of grey tones and whites. But what about the feng shui consequences of these features?
We discuss here two of the more popular features that are included into the design of privately-built homes that are also being incorporated into many new houses and condominiums being offered by property developers. There is no question here about the aesthetics, these features do bring a truly modern touch; they can look beautiful indeed, but it is important to also ask ourselves whether they will affect the good feng shui of the home?
If they are harmful, it might be necessary to have a rethink!
Ever since the stunning Marina Sands Bay hotel in Singapore unveiled their Sky pool to the public, there have been plenty of controversy and differing opinions about the feng shui impact of their infinity pool. Well, it has been several years now that Singapore has lived with (and some would say benefitted from) the pool. Here is a panoramic picture of this pool, which has attracted well-heeled tourists by the thousands from China. You can see that the pool is a sky pool, and according to the I Ching, water on top of mountain is a sign of grave danger because water turns destructive when it overflows. Does the pool overflow? It would seem so, but gossip has it that the management having consulted feng shui experts have kept the water level low enough not to overflow!
Nevertheless, the visual is of an overflowing effect, and we can see that the water does appear to be flowing towards the city. For sure, this pool has the potential to bring new prosperity to Singapore. This would seem to be what has happened, because since its unveiling, Singapore has been getting more prosperous. But for many living in the city state, Singapore has become a very expensive place to live in.
Some time ago I was in Singapore for a day, and my driver there told me that the cost of basic necessities has escalated three to four times. He was not really complaining because he is an entrepreneur driver in that his van belongs to him so his income can keep up with inflation; but he does say that even making $500 a day (which comes up to $12,500 based on a 25 days working month) he is feeling the pinch. Note we are talking in Singapore dollars! If he lives across the causeway in Malaysia, he can live like a king! But even here in Malaysia, the cost of living is rising fast. But nothing like Singapore!
For sure, Singapore must hold something of a record for the worth of its real estate. Just last month, a residential property along the exclusive Nassim road went on the market with a price tag of S$300 million!
It seems that good big tai chi feng shui does bring prosperity to a city and its inhabitants, but this kind of prosperity incorporates the phenomenon of inflation and can thus be a double-edged sword.
What about the infinity pool in a humble home? Is it too strong a feature for a residential home?
Conventional feng shui advice would be to keep the size of your infinity pool proportional to your home; and try not to have it located on the upper levels of the home; and make sure the water is overflowing towards the home rather than flowing outwards. I do not see anything harmful about infinity pools per se, but a pool of water should always follow feng shui conventions.
So here, the orientation and placement location of the pool is of crucial importance.
You will need to make sure that when you have a pool at all, it should NOT be placed in a sector of the property where the house’s current flying star chart is indicating a 5 or a 2 as the water star. Your pool with its water will then be activating the power of the wu wang or illness stars of 5 and 2, and this is sure to cause the residents to endure some severe money problems. One’s financial situation becomes unstable! When the pool is placed away from the main house, check the compass reading of the sector occupied by the pool. Do make sure it is also not in the Northeast sector, as this is symbolically the place of the mountain. A pool here harms the sons of the family and can cause the son to lose the support of his parents.
PROTRUDING BOXED ELEVATIONS
It seems like anything goes these days, especially when it comes to creating a dominant feature that defines the silhouette of a house. Just look at some of these examples of modern architecture, which feature protruding boxed elevations, some completely closed up on three sides, while others have cornered openings that allow glimpses into square-shaped homes. The visual is stark. Some people like the beautifully modern feel of such homes, but they do beg the question, would any of us really feel comfortable living in houses that look like this?
WHEN IS THERE TOO MUCH GLASS?
Houses that are completely glassed in i.e. having floor-to-ceiling windows made of glass all round usually have insufficient privacy. This may be fine when the house is part of a walled-in compound, but it becomes excessively transparent when the house directly faces an outside road and the interior of the house is visible to anyone driving past. Remember that your home must be your sanctuary, and you should ensure this vital aspect of the home is maintained.
Meanwhile, note that good feng shui requires there to be an obvious main door, so when you use plenty of floor-to-ceiling glass doors, you must also be sure to include an obvious main door in the design. This is where the principle chi energy enters. Without an obvious main door, good chi energy does not know how to enter. There might be good circulation of chi, but without a clear-cut main door, residents will find it difficult to appreciate the good opportunities that come their way. They will be blind to the overtures being made to them, much like missing the forest for the trees, missing the big picture, hence losing out!
It is important to not get carried away by your preferences for floor-to-ceiling glass doors. Honestly, you can have too much see-through glass. When more than fifty percent of your walls, balconies and windows are see-through glass, your house is definitely too transparent; even when you put drape curtains the flow of chi gets confused. Ideally, there should be three corners of solid walls and one side of glass doors/windows, than the other way around.
For sure, when all four sides of your home are glass your house will lack too many things to be auspicious. Such homes are more suitable for plants than for people, because when homes go through daily cycles of yin and yang, it should never be completely yin or completely yang at any time. I have seen houses with so much glass that residents spontaneously have to use heavy drapes to block off sunlight causing excessive yang.
Homes need to have some kind of an anchoring wall at the back, which offers stability and support; just like all homes benefit from the support of the black tortoise hill behind. Rooms and corridors, walkways and halls need at least one solid wall to serve as a stabilizing factor to ensure that fortunes of residents are maintained.
When there is too much glass inside the home, there are obvious dangers. The see-through effect of glass can lead to nasty accidents, and the flow of chi energy can also get confused. In countries where the sun is strong, it is easy for excessive yang energy to build up, causing residents to become restless.
Where there are floating staircases, it becomes a case of wealth slipping through the fingers of residents. Lost opportunities and a wasting away of resources will be the result. In any case, staircases should never have holes in between the steps, and worse yet when they are placed against a see-through glass wall which then magnifies the effect. Basically we should be careful about creating an atmosphere of instability caused by structures that appear to be suspended. This gives a visual that lacks balance within the home, as if one were living life on an edge, on the brink of falling over. This can be a feng shui flaw that can cause work and business problems to arise.